Dear students and colleagues
The University of Cape Town has suspended two students with immediate effect – in accordance with the university’s disciplinary procedures – in relation to the recent allegations of sexual assault. One student is a respondent in a sexual assault case, while the second is suspended for his involvement in the case. Both are barred from campus. Their suspension does not extend to participation in online academic activities.
Both students have been informed of their suspension via the relevant university channels.
The students have an opportunity to make submissions on why this order should not be made final at a hearing to be convened within 72 hours of the provisional order. If the order is made final the respondents have a further opportunity to lodge an appeal. Any notice of appeal does not suspend the effect of the suspension order unless the appeal is successful.
According to the UCT sexual misconduct policy, a suspension notice serves as a protective measure issued without prejudice to the respondent to protect a complainant from gender-based violence whether or not a formal disciplinary process is instituted or contemplated. It further allows the university to investigate and resolve the complaint. A suspension notice is not a punitive measure but rather a protective measure for the complainant or the respondent.
The suspension is imposed while the matter is being fully investigated by the Special Tribunal, which is working on this issue with the priority it requires in line with the endeavour by the UCT executive to have the case receiving attention as urgently as possible. The university will ensure that due process is followed and that the matter is concluded as speedily as possible.
UCT continues to provide support through the Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC), whose staff have specialist skills in responding to allegations such as these. The OIC is specially set up with expert, professional skills to respond to cases where such allegations are made. The matter will be fully investigated within established policy and process.
Any student or staff member who has experienced sexual assault or sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is encouraged to contact the OIC for assistance. The OIC offers survivors immediate comprehensive survivor care and support; assistance with lodging complaints and laying a charge with the South African Police Service (SAPS); and an online portal where survivors and/or those close to them can report incidents of sexual assault or SGBV.
Anyone who has experienced sexual assault or SGBV, or is aware of such an incident, should use the channels provided by UCT and SAPS. These channels include the Campus Protection Services (CPS), which works closely with the OIC in cases of sexual assault or SGBV.
UCT also offers support to friends and allies of survivors, to help them through the anxiety they may be experiencing.
UCT reiterates that acts of SGBV have no place on campus and in society. The executive is committed to handing any SGBV cases with the seriousness these deserve.
Communication and Marketing Department
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